DailyDot- Apple has many enemies, but this week they added a new one to their list. A man from Florida named Thomas S. Ross has filed a $10 billion lawsuit against the company. How has Apple wronged him? Thomas S. Ross believes that he invented the idea for the iPhone and by proxy the iPad and iPod.
The case, which was first discovered by Macrumors, revolves around three hand-drawn technical mockups Ross made in 1992, showcasing a flat rectangular device with a screen and buttons. You can see the drawing here.
According to the case files, Ross applied for a utility patent in November of 1992. That might actually help him if not for the fact that that utility patent was declared abandoned in 1995 when he failed to pay the application fees on the patent.
Do I think that a random man in Florida invented the iPhone in 1992 and waited until 2016 to decide that his intellectual property was stolen by a company that developed into hundreds of billions in new worth? Not really. That said, the rough sketch complete with 3D imagery, buttons, and a laundry list of functions is more work than I have ever done for something that I didn't invent. Just something to think about.
Hey, this guy might be a jackass for filing a comically large, frivolous lawsuit against a company that wipes it's proverbial ass with frivolous lawsuits, but he kinda has a point. He drew out the plans for a handheld screen that does a bunch of crap well before the iPhone was a twinkle in Steve Jobs eye. Not sure that a sketch of a boxy figure with a bunch of indecipherable features is worth 10 billion, but it undoubtedly resembles the blueprint for the original iPhone that came at least a decade later. Might be smart for Apple to throw a few thousand dollars at some lunatic in Florida to make him go back into hiding out in his swamp shanty, because he's a great lawyer away from arguing that his 90's doodle was the first step - out of approximately a billion steps - in the development of the smart phone and eventually the touchscreen tablet. Probably should have held onto that patent of a computerized rectangle that 's capable of stuff, because the entirety of the technological age would basically be impossible without it. In and of itself that drawing isn't worth the pen it was drawn with, but I think Thomas Ross should get some credit for being the brain behind the size and shape of something that wasn't functionally possible until 15 years later. Apparently timing is everything.